No. 15 Hastings evades Bulldog upset bid

No. 15 Hastings evades Bulldog upset bid

HASTINGS, Neb. – The Concordia men’s basketball team held a lead after nearly 30 minutes of play at No. 15 Hastings before the host Broncos put together a game-clinching run to take a 71-66 decision on Wednesday night. Hastings (16-5, 10-2 GPAC) survived despite a pair of significant second half spurts from a resilient Bulldog bunch.

“We had a couple dry spells but overall I liked our competitiveness,” Concordia head coach Ben Limback said. “Defensively we did a good job on No. 15 (Brady Lollman) until the very end. We had some mental mistakes we couldn’t overcome. We’d give up a lob on an inbounds or mix up who’s guarding who, but there were a lot of positives.”

Similar to Saturday’s home loss to Briar Cliff, Concordia charged hard in the waning moments. Junior guard Joel Haywood, who finished with a season high 18 points, cut the Hastings lead down to 69-66 with seven seconds left by draining a trey. The triple capped a 13-3 Bulldog run, during which Haywood collected five points.

After a foul on the ensuing possession, Lollman canned a pair of free throws to allow the Broncos to escape with their third-straight win.

Faced with another conference meat grinder on the road, Concordia showed toughness by coming back from a 38-30 halftime deficit. The Bulldogs followed a 12-1 Bronco run to end the first half with a 10-0 run of their own that put Limback’s crew up 40-38 with 15:44 to play.

Neither team led by more than three points for the next eight minutes. That’s when Hastings began a 17-4 run that crippled Concordia and left it needing a minor miracle over the final three minutes. During the game’s most crucial stretch, the Bulldogs failed to score on six-consecutive possessions.

Four days after going off for a career high 34 points, Concordia senior guard Adam Vogt was held to seven points on 1-for-8 shooting from the field.

The rest of the starting lineup reached double figures in scoring, paced by Haywood’s 18. Sophomores Micah Kohlwey and Robby Thomas recorded 11 points apiece and freshman Chandler Folkerts chipped in with 10 points and seven rebounds.

“Our bigs Justin and Chandler did some nice things inside and it was nice to see Joel really step up,” Limback said. “Joel was much more of an offensive threat.”

The Bulldogs outscored Hastings 36-33 in the second half, continuing a trend of improved play after facing first-half deficits. Concordia, which has trailed by eight points or more in each of the last four games, has outscored its foes in the second half four contests in a row.

Lollman, the GPAC’s third-leading scorer, tallied a game high 24 points for the Broncos.  Lollman helped ice the game by making 11 of 14 free throw attempts.

Neither team shot particularly well with Hastings’ 41.5 percent clip besting Concordia’s 39.7 percent figure.

Wednesday’s game marked the ninth this season in which Concordia has gone up against a nationally-ranked opponent.

The Bulldogs now look forward to the 63rd annual Concordia Invitational Tournament on Friday and Saturday in Mequon, Wis. Limback’s squad will take on Concordia-Ann Arbor (8-11) at 3 p.m. on Friday. Limback served as head coach of the Cardinals for nine seasons. The 2014 CIT will be hosted by Concordia University Wisconsin. For a preview of CIT, click HERE.

“It will be fun to see (some of my former players),” Limback said. “But we’re there to come out and play our best and bring home a trophy.”

22 January 2014

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Junior Joel Haywood